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Sunday, 2 June 2013



The first toll bridge in America was licensed to Richard Thurley at Newbury River in 1654. There was a charge for animals but not for humans.

The world’s first arch bridge made of cast iron opened to traffic, over the River Severn in Shropshire, England on January 1, 1781. The unimaginatively named Iron Bridge was greatly celebrated after construction owing to its use of the new material. (Photo below by  User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons.)

The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world's first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales opened to much fanfare on January 30, 1826. Before the bridge was completed, the island had no fixed connection to the mainland and all movements to and from Anglesey were by ferry across the fast flowing and dangerous waters of the Menai Strait.

Construction of the Menai Suspension Bridge began in 1819 with the towers on either side of the strait. These were constructed from Penmon limestone and were hollow with internal cross-walls. Then came the sixteen huge chain cables, each made of 935 iron bars, that support the 577 foot (176 meter) span.

"Menai Suspension Bridge Dec 09" by Bencherlite - Wikipedia Commons

Isambard Brunel designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge which crosses the Avon Gorge at Bristol. He was working as a resident engineer on the Thames Tunnel at Rotherhithe, when he almost drowned when the tunnel collapsed and water poured in. He was seriously injured and during his recuperation he submitted designs for a competition to build a bridge across the Avon. His graceful suspension design won the competition.

Clifton Suspension Bridge. By Gothick - Wikipedia

Construction of the Clifton Suspension Bridge began in 1831, but there were endless delays and it eventually opened on December 8, 1864.

The first bridge over the Mississippi River opened in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 23, 1855. The crossing is made today by the Hennepin Avenue Bridge (see below).

By prakope - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, $3

John Augustus Roebling - the original designer of the Brooklyn Bridge--- died of a tetanus infection in 1869 after having his leg crushed by a ferryboat while working on the Brooklyn Bridge.

On December 28, 1879, during a violent storm, the Tay Bridge in Scotland collapsed as a train was crossing over it on the way to Dundee, killing at least 56 people on board. It had only opened the previous year.

The ground was broken for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge on January 3, 1870. It took 13 years, 600 workers and cost $15 million.

New York City's Brooklyn Bridge, at the time the longest suspension bridge in the world, opened on May 24, 1883. On that first day, a total of 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The opening ceremony was attended by several thousand people and many ships were present in the East Bay for the occasion. President Chester A. Arthur and Mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge to celebratory cannon fire and were greeted by Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low when they reached the Brooklyn-side tower. Further festivity included the performance of a band, gunfire from ships, and a fireworks display.

The picture below shows "Bird's-Eye View of the Great New York and Brook­lyn Bridge and Grand Dis­play of Fire Works on Open­ing Night"

The public originally doubted the stability of the Brooklyn Bridge. Six days after its opening, a pedestrian fell, causing a woman to scream, which led to a stampede that killed 12. Public concern was only dispelled a year later when P.T. Barnum marched 21 elephants across it.

The longest bridge in Great Britain, the Forth Railway Bridge in Scotland, measuring 1,710 feet (520 m) long, was opened by the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII on March 4, 1890. The bridge connects Edinburgh and Fife.

The Forth Bridge seen from South Queensferry. By Kim Traynor - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

The Queensboro Bridge, the first double-decker bridge, opened in New York City on March 30, 1909. It links Manhattan and Queens.

Queensboro Bridge circa 1908

The Maurzyce Bridge built in 1928 near Lowicz in Poland was the first welded road bridge in the world.

Ulysses S. Grant III approved the unsightly design of the original Shoreham Hill Bridge in Washington, D.C. in 1929 because it would encourage the public to demand a more aesthetic and expensive bridge.

New York City's George Washington Bridge opened to vehicles on October 25, 1931. 56,312 cars and one horse crossed the structure on its first day.

As of 2016, the George Washington Bridge carried over 103 million vehicles per year, making it the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge.

Sold, dismantled and moved to the United States, London Bridge reopened in Lake Havasu City, Arizona on October 10, 1971.

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona. By Ken Lund from Las Vegas,

The Tallahatchee Bridge in Greenwood, Mississippi, made famous in Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe", collapsed in 1972.

 Bridge crossing the the Rhone River near Avignon (photo by Les Gosden)

The current London Bridge was constructed by contractors John Mowlem and Co from 1967 to 1972 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II on March 17, 1973. The old one was sold to the Missourian entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil for US$2,460,000. It was reconstructed by Sundt Construction at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

London Bridge illuminated at dusk. By burge5000 - Flickr, Wikipedia Commons


The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opened for commuter traffic on August 28, 1963, after three years of construction. A floating bridge in Washington state, US, it carried State Route 520 across Lake Washington from the Montlake/Union Bay district of Seattle to Medina. Its 2,310 meters (7,580 ft) floating section was the longest floating bridge in the world until April 11, 2016, when its replacement exceeded it by 130 feet.

The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (520 bridge) in Seattle, Washington, shot from about 1,500', looking south-east.

The highest bridge in the world is located in the Himalyan Mountains. It was built by the Indian Army, in 1982, and is about 5,600 metres above sea level.

The world's longest suspension bridge opened to traffic on April 5, 1998. The 3,911-meter (12,831-feet) Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is 580 meters (1,900 feet) longer than the Humber Bridge in England, the previous record holder. Linking Awaji Island with Honshū on the Japanese mainland, it cost about $3.8 billion. The wires that make up its steel cables would circle the world seven times if separated and laid end to end.

Picture of the Akashi Bridge in Kobe on December 2005 Picture taken by Kim Rötzel. Self-published work by Tysto,

The Morgan Creek Bridge in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was renamed in 2003 the James Taylor Bridge in honor of the singer, who mentioned it in his song "Copperline."

The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, the world's longest cross-sea bridge water (aggregate length) at 41.58 km (25.84 mi). opened in 2011 in Shandong, People's Republic of China.

Thieves stole an entire 22 tonne, 82 foot metal bridge overnight on March 11, 2013 in the Golcuk district of the Turkish province of Kocaeli.

The new eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opened to traffic on September 2, 2013. The new east span is a single deck with the eastbound and westbound five lane carriageways on each side making this the world's widest bridge.

The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, which was built for rail and motor vehicle transit over the Bosphorus, north of two existing bridges in Istanbul, Turkey, opened on August 26, 2016. At 322 metres (1056 feet), the bridge is the tallest suspension bridge in the world. It is also the world’s broadest suspension bridge at 58.4 meters (192 feet) wide.

Living root bridges are a form of tree shaping common in the southern part of the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya. At over 50 meters in length, the longest known example of a living root bridge is near the small Khasi town of Pynursla.

This living root bridge is the longest known example.

Peak Walk is a pedestrian suspension bridge in Switzerland linking the peak of Scex Rouge with another peak. When it opened on October 25, 2014, it became the world's first suspension bridge that connects two mountain peaks.

Titlis Cliff Walk is a pedestrian bridge along the cliff of Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps. Built at around 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, it is believed to be the highest elevation suspension bridge in Europe.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at New Orleans, Louisiana, is the world's longest bridge over water (continuous). It is almost 24 miles (about 38 kilometers) long.

The southern end of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at Metaire, Louisiana,

The Vasco de Gama Bridge in Lisbon is almost 11 miles long. It is the longest bridge in Europe.


The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts) is one of the few places in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.

The Trans-Siberian railway crosses exactly 3901 bridges.

Poohsticks Bridge had to be replaced in 1999 because so many people had thrown sticks under it.

In Florida it is illegal to fish while driving across a bridge.

Gephyrophobia is the fear of bridges.


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